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Four roads closed to motorized use to align with National Forest Travel Management Plan
Contact:Katherine King, Open Space & Trails970-668-4061, Katherine.King@SummitCountyCO.gov
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit Board of County Commissioners recently adopted new regulations to restrict the winter use of motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles, on Gold Run Gulch, Boreas Pass, Baldy and Sallie Barber roads. The regulations align Summit County management policies with those of the White River National Forest Travel Management Plan (TMP) and the Golden Horseshoe Management Plan.
“These changes are necessary to ensure that we have uniform, consistent management of natural resources across jurisdictional boundaries,” Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “They also help separate motorized uses from non-motorized uses so that everyone’s recreational experiences are safer and more enjoyable.”
The U.S. Forest Service finalized the TMP in 2011 after more than 10 years of public review and comment. The plan provides for a wide range of uses and experiences to meet the public’s recreation and travel needs while protecting the forest’s natural resources. The TMP designates USFS roads, trails and areas that are open to motorized and mechanized travel in both summer and winter. The TMP does not designate uses on county roads or facilities adjacent or leading to USFS lands.
“In the case of these four county roads in the Breckenridge area, the TMP closed the lands surrounding the roads to winter motorized use,” said Katherine King, senior resource specialist for Summit County Open Space & Tails. “Leaving the roads themselves open to snowmobiles created ‘dead end’ travel routes that made it difficult to prevent unauthorized motorized use on the surrounding USFS lands.”
Summit County sought to designate uses on county roads to be consistent with the TMP, as well as the Golden Horseshoe Management Plan. The BOCC also received a request from the Town of Breckenridge to close the roads to winter motorized use. County staff held an extensively advertised public open house on the topic, and the majority of respondents supported the closures.
“These road closures will protect the natural resources of Summit County’s backcountry, as well as the safety of Summit County’s residents and guests,” King said. “This is a very popular area for snowshoeing and skiing, and the closures will help reduce the potential for conflict among recreational users. It’s important to note that we have not made any changes to access rights for landowners with property beyond the closure points.”
The following segments of road are closed to winter (over snow) motorized recreation, effective immediately:
The closures were adopted by the BOCC through a resolution to amend the Open Space Rules and Regulations, and an amendment to the Snowmobile Ordinance No. 13. Summit County Open Space and Trails staff will be working in the coming weeks to install informational signage at the closure points. Violation of the closures is enforceable by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, and violators are subject to the fine schedule outlined in the Open Space Rules and Regulations.